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240 Remarkable Last Names That Start With R: With Meanings

Take the time to learn about surprising last names that start with R, ranging from the rustic to the royal.

When digging into last names that start with R, there’s a lot to consider. R surnames are plentiful and vary so much from culture to culture that you may overlook the most interesting ones. How can you make sure you don’t miss anything?

The easy answer is diving into our well-organized guide to over 200 last names, starting with R. In a few words, you’ll know the meaning(s) behind the names and some cool extra facts. Become an expert on R family names and be entertained at the same time.

80 Common Last Names That Start With R

These traditional surnames starting with R, are the most recognizable worldwide.

  1. Raabe – a Prussian symbol for a warrior clan meaning “raven,” one of the “beasts of war.”
  2. Rabinowitz – means “son of the rabbi” for Jewish people in Poland and Lithuania.
  3. Radcliffe – originally Ratcliffe, meaning “red cliff” in Old English, belonging to several locales in England.
  4. Radich – an American spelling of the Serbo-Croatian Radić, meaning “merry” or “glad.”
  5. Radick – another form of the Czech-Slovak Rádik based on Radoslav; “rad” means “merry.”
  6. Rafiq – based on the Arabic “rafīq,” meaning “intimate friend” and “companion.”
  7. Raines – given to someone from Rayne in Essex originating as “hrægene,” meaning “shelter” in Old English.
  8. Raj – taken from the Sanskrit “rāja,” meaning “king”; appears in Prithviraj, meaning “king of the earth.”
  9. Raleigh – means “deer’s meadow” in Old English and is the name of a city in North Carolina.
  10. Ramirez – means “son of Ramon” from the Germanic “ragin,” meaning “counsel,” and “mari,” meaning “fame.”
  11. Ramos – the name of several towns in Portugal and Spain based on “ramos,” meaning “branches.”
  12. Ramsey – also Ramsay, derived from the Latin “de Rameseia,” meaning “of wild garlic island.”
  13. Randall – means “shield wolf” and is linked to the Gaelic MacRaghnaill, meaning “son of Raghnall.”
  14. Raphael – this 7-letter name belonged to a biblical archangel, meaning “God heals.”
  15. Rapp – from the Middle German “rabe,” meaning “raven,” a nickname for someone with black hair.
  16. Rappaport – based on the German “rapp,” meaning “raven” and “port,” for the Italian town of Portobuffolé.
  17. Ray – taken from the Old English “rœge,” meaning “female roe deer.”
  18. Raymond – is both a surname and a first name meaning “wise protector.”
  19. Redmond – based on the Germanic Raymond, made up of “ragin,” meaning “counsel” and “mund,” meaning “protection.”
  20. Reed – one of several last names that start with R used for redheads.
  21. Reeves – from the Middle English “reve,” describing a “sheriff,” “steward,” or “bailiff.”
  22. Reid – a variation of Reed as a nickname for a “red-haired person.”
  23. Reinhardt – composed of the Germanic “ragin,” meaning “counsel,” and “hart,” meaning “strong.”
  24. Renaldo – the Italian variation of Reynold from the Germanic “ragin,” meaning “counsel,” and “wald,” meaning “rule.”
  25. Resnikoff – a Jewish surname taken from Reznikov and Reznik, meaning “ritual slaughterer.”
  26. Revere – given to someone residing “on the river bank,” from the French “rivier,” meaning “bank.”
  27. Reyes – means “king” and “royalty” in Spanish and occurs most in Mexico.
  28. Reynolds – means “son of Reynold” or “son of Reginald,” meaning “powerful ruler.”
  29. Rhames – a unique 5-letter surname linked to the German Rahmes, based on a location called Rahms.
  30. Rhodes – also appears as Rhoades and Rodes, from the Old English “rod,” meaning “woodland clearing.”
  31. Ricard – a French form of Richard, meaning “brave,” “powerful,” and “strong.”
  32. Riccardo – means “strong” and “dominant” in Italian as a boy’s name.
  33. Ricci – means “curly-haired” when associated with the Italian “riccio,” meaning “curly.”
  34. Rice – a topographic surname for someone “living near a thicket,” based on the Old English “hrīs.”
  35. Richards – means “son or descendent of Richard,” named after King Richard the Lionhearted.
  36. Richardson – a traditional name for a “son of Richard,” also meaning “powerful” and “brave.”
  37. Riley – means “rye clearing” – an Anglo variation of the Irish Ó’Raghailligh, meaning “descendant of Raghailleach.”
  38. Rios – based on the Spanish “rio,” meaning “river,” after the Rio Grande in Brazil.
  39. Rispoli – is derived from the first name Rispo, originally a German name.
  40. Ritchie – a diminutive of Richard, composed of the Germanic “ric,” meaning “power,” and “hard,” meaning “brave.”
  41. Rittenhouse – an Americanized spelling of the German Rittinghaus, located near Altena, Westphalia.
  42. Riviera – from the Latin “riparia,” meaning “river bank,” based on Italian places like Riviera d’Adda.
  43. Robbins – means “son of Robin” or “son of Robert,” associated with “bright fame.”
  44. Roberts – a 6-letter name meaning “son of Robert,” meaning “bright fame.”
  45. Robertson – means “son of Robert,” belonging to the three kings of Scotland.
  46. Robinson – means “son of Robin,” a nickname for Robert or another version of Rubenstein.
  47. Robles – for someone “from Robles” in Spain, meaning “oak tree grove” in Spanish.
  48. Rock – from the Middle English “rok(ke),” meaning “rock”; for someone living near a “rocky outcrop.”
  49. Rodriguez – means “son of Rodrigo” in Spanish using the “-ez” suffix, meaning “descendent of.”
  50. Rogers – from the personal name Roger, meaning “famous spear” or a “son of Roger.”
  51. Rojas – the feminine plural form of the Spanish “rojo,” meaning “red.”
  52. Rollins – based on the diminutive Rawlin and means “son of Ralph.”
  53. Romain – an English and French variation of Roman, describing a person “from Rome.”
  54. Roman – from the Middle English Romain for a “Roman” or someone on a pilgrimage to Rome.
  55. Romanov – the famous Russian form of Roman, describing someone “from Rome.”
  56. Romero – from the Latin Romaeus used to denote a Roman or Italian person.
  57. Rosario – from the Latin “rosarium,” meaning “rose garden,” yet came to mean “rosary.”
  58. Rose – is associated with a descendent of Rose, Rowe, or Ross.
  59. Rosenquist – means “rose branch” in Swedish, made up of “rosen,” meaning “rose,” and “quist,” meaning “twig.”
  60. Ross – a 4-letter Scottish surname meaning “promontory” or “headland.”
  61. Rossetti – from the Italian Rosso and the Latin Rossius, meaning “red.”
  62. Rossi – the plural of Rosso, meaning “red-haired,” the most popular Italian surname.
  63. Roth – derives from the Old German “rot,” meaning “red” for those with red hair.
  64. Rousseau – a nickname for a red-haired person based on the Old French “ro(u)s,” meaning “red.”
  65. Rowe – among Old English last names starting with R for someone living “near a hedgerow.”
  66. Rowland – from the Old French Rolant and Germanic Hrodland, composed of “hrōd,” meaning “glory” and “land.”
  67. Ruan – a Chinese string instrument that also refers to a Shang Dynasty state.
  68. Rubio – based on the Latin “rubeus,” meaning “red,” typically given to redheads.
  69. Rucker – means “to move or draw” in Middle German and is a nickname meaning “thief, greedy.”
  70. Rudd – means “from Rhude” in Devon, based on the Old English “hrēod,” meaning “reed bed.”
  71. Rudolph – more common as a first name; both mean “renowned wolf.”
  72. Ruiz – a Spanish surname derived from the Germanic Hrodric, meaning “famous ruler.”
  73. Rush – given to someone living “near rushes (a flowering plant)” or a “weaver of mat baskets.”
  74. Russell – based on the Anglo-Norman “r(o)ussel,” from “rous(e),” meaning “red.”
  75. Russo – the southern Italian equivalent to Rossi as a nickname for someone with “red hair.”
  76. Ruth – a German location, also linked to the Middle English “reuth(e),” meaning “pity.”
  77. Rutledge – taken from Routledge Burn in Cumberland, England, meaning “loud stream.”
  78. Ryan – also O’Riain, from the Gaelic “righ” and “an,” meaning “little king.”
  79. Ryder – means “horsemen” or “messenger” from the Old English “ridere,” meaning “mounted warrior.”
  80. Rye – for someone who grew or sold rye; means “forest clearing” from the Old Norse “rjóthr.”

80 Unique Last Names That Start With R

Here, you’ll find more distinct spellings and variations of last names, starting with R.

  1. Rabbitt – based on the Norman first name Radbode, meaning “good message or tidings.”
  2. Racek – a nickname for the Slavic Radoslav, from “rad,” meaning “merry” or “glad.”
  3. Rácz – taken from the Hungarian “rác” as a name given to a Serbian person.
  4. Radloff – appears as the north German Radolf, which means “wolf counsel.”
  5. Radwanski – used to describe those from a place in Poland called Radwan.
  6. Raeburn – a Scottish place name meaning “a stream where deer drink.”
  7. Raglin – also appears as Ragland from the German Regelin, meaning “counsel” and “advice.”
  8. Ragno – an Italian nickname from “ragno,” meaning “spider,” associated with the first name Rag(i)no.
  9. Ragnvaldsson – means “son of Ragnvald” in Swedish, after the 12th-century king Ragnvald Knaphövde.
  10. Ragucci – another variation of the Italian Raguccio, from Rago, meaning “strong.”
  11. Raimondo – associated with the Germanic Raimond and Raymond, meaning “protecting hands.”
  12. Rainey – an Anglo variant of the Gaelic Ó’Ráighne, from the Old Norse Rǫgnvaldr, meaning “divine power.”
  13. Rais – an Arabic title meaning “chief” or “leader” based on “raʾs.”
  14. Raley – a unique spelling of the English Raleigh, meaning “deer’s meadow,” sometimes used for girls.
  15. Ralston – means “Ralph’s town” in Old English, associated with Renfrewshire in Scotland.
  16. Ramachandran – composed of the Hindi Rama, for the Hindu god Vishnu, and Sanskrit “čandra,” meaning “moon.”
  17. Rasmussen – means “son of Rasmus,” based on the Norse Rasmus, meaning “beloved.”
  18. Rathburn – for someone “from Radbourn” in Warwickshire; also means “dweller in a stumpy clearing.”
  19. Ravenscroft – a place name in Cheshire, England, from the Old English “hræfn,” meaning “raven.”
  20. Raycraft – inspired by Rycroft in Yorkshire, where this English surname originated.
  21. Reader – from the Old English “rēdere,” referring to a “reader,” “scholar,” or “diviner.”
  22. Reagan – means “little king” as an Irish unisex name from Ó’Ríagáin, meaning “descendant of Riagán.”
  23. Reardon – an Anglo form of the Gaelic Ó’Ríordáin, meaning “royal bard.”
  24. Redd – one of the simplest surnames starting with R, meaning “clearing” and “red.”
  25. Redondo – located in Portugal and Galicia; a nickname for a “plump person,” from “redondo,” meaning “round.”
  26. Regal – a location in Galicia and Valencia, Spain, from “regar,” meaning “to water.”
  27. Reichmann – a German-Jewish nickname given to a “powerful or wealthy man.”
  28. Reif – means “barrel cord” in German for a maker of ribbons or ropes.
  29. Reisner – one of the occupational last names that start with R, meaning “woodcarver.”
  30. Remis – based on the Latin Remigius and a Slovak pet name for Jeremiáš.
  31. Renaud – a French name with Germanic origins, from “ragin,” meaning “counsel,” and “wald,” meaning “rule.”
  32. Renfrow – a Scottish surname beginning with R for someone “from Renfrewshire,” meaning “flowing brook.”
  33. Renner – comes from the German “rennen,” meaning “to run,” an occupational name for a messenger.
  34. Resendez – means “son of Resendo,” composed of the Germanic “reths,” meaning “counsel,” and “sinths,” meaning “way.”
  35. Reyna – from the Latin “regis,” meaning “royal,” based on “reina,” the female form of “rey.”
  36. Reynoso – also appears as Reinoso, using the Spanish root “rey,” meaning “king.”
  37. Reznik – from the Czech “řezník,” meaning “one who cuts” and a Yiddish word for a “butcher.”
  38. Rhea – originally used by descendants of the Scottish Picts, meaning “son of prosperity.”
  39. Riabov – also appears as Ryabov from the Slavic first name Ryab, meaning “of Ryab.”
  40. Riagán – from the Gaelic Ó’Riagáin, one of several last names starting with R, meaning “little king.”
  41. Riaz – also a Persian first name from the Arabic “riyāḍ,” meaning “garden.”
  42. Ribeiro – based on the Portuguese “ribeiro,” meaning “stream,” for someone living near a stream.
  43. Richter – an occupation name for a German “lord’s administrator of a village,” from “rihtære,” meaning “judge.”
  44. Rickels – for those from Riccall in East Yorkshire; composed of Rīca and “halh,” meaning “nook.”
  45. Riddle – inspired by the English River Rye and the Old Norse “dalr,” meaning “valley.”
  46. Ridenour – an American spelling of the German Reitenauer, meaning “meadow clearing.”
  47. Riedel – a nickname for Riede based on the Middle German “rītan,” meaning “to ride.”
  48. Riggins – from the Irish Ó’Riagáin, meaning “son of Riagán” and “little king.”
  49. Riggleman – an alternate spelling for the German Riegelmann, given to someone living near a “watershed.”
  50. Riggs – an Old English surname meaning “one from the ridge,” also a boy’s name.
  51. Rinder – a German occupational surname meaning “cattle farmer,” from “rind,” meaning “cow.”
  52. Rinehart – comes from the Old German Reginhard, meaning “brave in council.”
  53. Ringler – one of many occupational German surnames starting with R, meaning “maker or provider of rings.”
  54. Riojas – for those from La Rioja town in the Almería province of Spain.
  55. Ripley – means “strip of clearing in the woods,” based on the Old English “ripel.”
  56. Ristović – means “son of Risto” in Serbo-Croatian, from the first name Risto, meaning “bearer of Christ.”
  57. Ristovski – a Polish version of a patronymic name meaning “son of Risto,” the Slavic form of Christ.
  58. Ritz – derived from the Old German “hriot,” meaning “reeds,” for someone “dwelling near a reedy place.”
  59. Rivers – describes someone “from La Riviere” in France who arrived in England with the Norman invasion.
  60. Rizzo – an Italian nickname for someone “with curly hair,” similar to Ricci and Risso.
  61. Robb – a medieval nickname for Robert used by three 14th-century Scottish kings.
  62. Robillard – means “son of Robert” and “little Robert” and first appeared in 1739.
  63. Rockefeller – originally Rockenfeller, composed of the Old German “rocko,” meaning “rock” and “feld,” meaning “open country.”
  64. Rodd – means “at the rod of land” and refers to a place near Leominster, Herefordshire.
  65. Rolon – from the Spanish “rol,” meaning “scroll,” common in Paraguay and Argentina.
  66. Romano – among R last names for those “from Rome”; originally the Latin Romanus.
  67. Romer – an English and Dutch nickname for someone “from Rome” or a pilgrim who journeyed there.
  68. Rooney – an Anglo form of the Gaelic O’Ruanaidh,” meaning “descendent of Ruanaidh,” meaning “champion.”
  69. Roseberry – means “Roe’s stronghold” and “rose hill,” from the Old English “rose” and “beorh” meaning “hill.”
  70. Rosenbaum – a German-Jewish surname given to those living near “rose trees.”
  71. Rosenberry – means “from Roxburghshire”; composed of Hrōc and the Old English “burg,” meaning “fort.”
  72. Rosenfeld – a German place name near Wittenberg also meaning “rose field.”
  73. Rothenberg – is made up of the Yiddish “royt,” meaning “red,” and the German “berg,” meaning “hill.”
  74. Rountree – a beautiful English surname for someone living “near a rowan tree,” also called a “mountain-ash tree.”
  75. Roux – a French nickname for a “redhead” and those from Le Roux, France.
  76. Ruggeri – an Italian form of Rogers, meaning “son of Roger” and “glory, spear.”
  77. Rushdie – derived from the Arabic “rašada,” meaning “to be well guided.”
  78. Ruskin – means “descendant of little Rous” in Russian as a nickname for Rose.
  79. Rygg – from the Old Norse “hryggr,” meaning “backbone” and “spine,” referring to a “mountain ridge.”
  80. Ryzwan – also Rizwan, named after the angel who oversees paradise in Islam.

80 Rare Last Names That Start With R

The most unusual or uncommon surnames starting with R still have unique meanings.

  1. Racanelli – an Italian occupational diminutive for Racano, from “racana,” meaning “knitted or woven material.”
  2. Radev – means “son of Rade,” a diminutive for Radoslav and other names beginning with “rad.”
  3. Radhakrishnan – from the Sanskrit “rādhā,” meaning “prosperity” and “krṣṇa,” meaning “black.”
  4. Radler – an occupational name for a “wheelmaker” or “wheelwright” from the German “rat,” meaning “wheel.”
  5. Radosta – a medieval Czech personal name from “radovat se,” meaning “to rejoice.”
  6. Rae – a unique 3-letter name dating back to the Old English “ra,” meaning “roe deer.”
  7. Raikes – someone living “near a pass” in Wales; associated with the Old English “hraca,” meaning “throat.”
  8. Raishley – is obscure among last names that start with R, based on Rashleigh in Devonshire.
  9. Ramakrishnan – comes from the Sanskrit “rāma,” meaning “pleasing,” and “kṛṣna,” meaning “black.”
  10. Ramruttun – from the Hindi “ramyatna,” meaning “by the effort of Rama,” found in Trinidad and Tobago.
  11. Randazzo – an 8-letter surname for those from several places named Randazzo.
  12. Randhawa – is composed of the Punjabi “rann,” meaning “war ground,” and “dhava,” meaning “attack.”
  13. Randle – also a boy’s name linked to the Old German Randall, meaning “wolf shield.”
  14. Randrup – the name for places in Denmark located in the Viborg or Rebild municipalities.
  15. Rao – derived from Radulfo, meaning “famous wolf,” and an Italian form of Ralph.
  16. Rapistarda – linked to the Italian Rapisalpa, meaning “he steals sardines.”
  17. Raptis – an occupational Greek surname for a “tailor” from “raptēs,” meaning “one who sews.”
  18. Rapunzel – a famous girl’s name, also a German surname named after an edible plant.
  19. Rask – based on German place names like Rasch near Nuremberg or Raschau in Saxony.
  20. Rasputin – from the Russian “rasputye,” meaning “crossroads”; well-known for Grigoriy Rasputin.
  21. Rattlebone – an English nickname for a “lean or bony person or animal.”
  22. Rauch – from the Middle German “rouch,” meaning “smoke,” an occupational name for a blacksmith.
  23. Rausch – means “noisy person,” based on the Middle German “rūschen,” meaning “to make a rustling noise.”
  24. Rautio – based on the name of Finnish farms and the equivalent to Smith.
  25. Ravipati – also a boy’s name meaning “helpful,” “peace,” and “inventiveness” in Hindi.
  26. Rawat – belonging to the Hindu Rajput; a medieval title for a soldier with 100 kills.
  27. Rebane – the Estonian word for “fox” among the most literal surnames starting with R.
  28. Recknagel – made up of the Middle German “recken,” meaning “to raise,” and “nagel,” meaning “nail.”
  29. Redden – for someone living near “a cleared woodland,” from the Old English “ryden,” meaning “clearing.”
  30. Reddihough – originated in Lancashire, England, where Reddihoughs were lords of the manor.
  31. Redwine – an Anglo spelling for the German Rettwein, from the first name Ratwin.
  32. Reedus – also appears as Redus, a short form of Redhouse for many English locations.
  33. Regenbogen – a German name describing a “house with the sign of a rainbow.”
  34. Reiss – an occupational Jewish name for a “rice dealer,” associated with the German “reis,” meaning “twig.”
  35. Renda – derives from the Latin Laurentius and a female form of the first name Rende/Rando.
  36. Reno – means “dweller at the sign of the rainbow” in Spanish.
  37. Restrepo – has Spanish Asturian-Leonese origins as a place in Asturias, Spain.
  38. Retegui – means “burnt place” in Basque and refers to “overcooking” or “burning” food.
  39. Rickwood – based on the English first name Richeward, meaning “powerful protector.”
  40. Riddlebarger – an American spelling for the German Riedelberger, originating in East Prussia.
  41. Riddlehoover – an alternate spelling for the German Reidelhuber, a nickname for a “coarse” person.
  42. Ridgeway – for those living near a “path along the back of a hill or ridge.”
  43. Riemenschneider – the longest of surnames starting with R; from Middle German, “remensnīder,” meaning “strap cutter.”
  44. Riese – means “rose” in German for someone living near a rose garden.
  45. Riffle – an American spelling for the German Riffel, one of many nicknames for Rudolf.
  46. Rimdal – has no defined meaning but mostly appears in Denmark, where it’s very rare.
  47. Rimmer – from the Old English “ryme,” meaning “rhymer” as given to a poet.
  48. Rinehimer – based on the German Reinheimer, for places located in and around Bavaria.
  49. Rink – a German and Dutch name based on “ragin,” meaning “counsel.”
  50. Risk – a Scottish variation of Rusk, based on the Gaelic “riasg,” meaning “marsh with sedge.”
  51. Roaker – means “dweller at a rock,” based on the Latin “rocca,” meaning “rock.”
  52. Robespierre – based on the French variation of Robert, meaning “bright fame.”
  53. Robinette – an Old French diminutive for Roberta and Robin, meaning “little robin.”
  54. Roe – a Celtic variation of Rowe and Rowes given to someone with “red hair.”
  55. Roig – a Catalan word meaning “red head,” derived from the Latin “rubeus,” meaning “red.”
  56. Rokkanen – a Finnish surname with unknown meaning that’s almost never found outside Finland.
  57. Ronquillo – a Spanish diminutive for “ronco,” from the Latin “raucus,” meaning “hoarse voice.”
  58. Rooijakkers – composed of the Dutch “rooij,” meaning “clearing fields,” and “akkers,” meaning “place of harvesting.”
  59. Roopak – also a Hindi boy’s name meaning “play” and “drama.”
  60. Roosevelt – based on the Dutch “Rosenvelt,” meaning “rose field,” belonging to two U.S. presidents.
  61. Roquemore – an alternate spelling for the French Roquemaure, locations in southern France.
  62. Rosendahl – is made up of the Scandinavian “rosen,” meaning “rose,” and “dahl,” meaning “valley.”
  63. Rossiter – a variation of the Scottish Ross, meaning “headland” and “cape.”
  64. Rothschild – associated with the German “zum rothen schild,” meaning “to the red shield.”
  65. Rowbottom – describes “roe–bottom,” meaning “depression in the ground,” referring to Ashton-under-Lyne, England.
  66. Rowntree – consists of the Middle English “rown” and the Old English “tree,” meaning “rowan tree.”
  67. Royster – an early English nickname based on “roister,” meaning a “wild or riotous person.”
  68. Royston – a combination of the female Roys and the Middle English “toun,” meaning “town settlement.”
  69. Rubalcava – based on the Arabic term “Rub al Khali,” meaning “the empty quarter.”
  70. Ruffus – a nickname and alternate spelling of the Latin Rufus, meaning “red-haired.”
  71. Ruggiero – an Italian surname composed of the Germanic “hrōd,” meaning “fame,” and “gār,” meaning “spear.”
  72. Rundström – derives from the Swedish “rund,” meaning “round,” and “ström,” meaning “stream.”
  73. Rupee – associated with the Sanskrit “rūpya,” meaning “coin of silver” that’s been imprinted.
  74. Rupprecht – a German form of Robert, made up of “hrod,” meaning “fame,” and “berhtl,” meaning “bright.”
  75. Rushin – for someone living “near a clump of rushes” from the Old English “rush.”
  76. Russom – from Rusholme Grange, Yorkshire; composed of the Norse Hrútr and “holmr,” meaning “island water meadow.”
  77. Ryba – also appears as Riba, a general Slavic word meaning “fish.”
  78. Ryker – also a unisex German name taken from “reich,” meaning “wealthy.”
  79. Rymill – an alternate spelling for the Scottish Rymell, a nickname for a “heavy drinker of rum.”
  80. Ryskamp – based on the Dutch Rijskamp, from “rijs,” meaning “twig,” and “kamp,” meaning “enclosed field.”

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.